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Recommendations for good hygiene in manufacturing

Every day workers are potentially exposed to contaminants and conditions that can be harmful to their skin, for example detergents, liquids, chemicals, mechanical oils, greases, resins, paints, sealants and even hot and cold conditions. Occupational skin disorders, including work-related eczema, which commonly go unreported, account for 11.2% of all occupational diseases.

Hygiene, and hand hygiene in particular, is vital in the manufacturing sector to ensure public health is protected as well as ensuring product quality. As well as occupational skin disorders, poor hygiene can cause higher levels of absenteeism and shift disruption, increased presenteeism with sick employees attending work and spreading illnesses and damage to reputation and at worst a risk of legal action.

With approximately 80% of common infections being transmitted by touch, it is essential for manufacturing businesses to have good hand hygiene practices.


The standards of washrooms within manufacturing sites often vary between the office and manufacturing facilities. The office washrooms need to safeguard the business image, while the washrooms in the manufacturing facility should be clean and provide the right provisions for employees using them in this area. 

A survey by Initial Hygiene reveals that 73% Malaysian workers dislike messy washroom and 3 in 5 claim washroom hygiene affect their productivity. This makes washroom cleanliness and hygiene need to be tip-top to be welcoming for visitors and staff.

  • Implement a rigorous cleaning schedule based on peak timings and traffic to ensure washrooms are kept clean
  • Ensure washrooms are well-stocked and that hygiene essentials such as hand soap and paper towels for good hand hygiene are always available
  • Keep it smelling fresh — bad smell can be a deterrent for people using the washroom and is often a reason for not washing their hands properly
  • Consider handsfree, sensor solutions to encourage proper hand washing prior to returning to the production line

Hand wash areas

Encourage good hand hygiene habits to keep your employees' hands clean and hygienic with a simple 3-step process.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Dry your hands completely with paper towel or hand dryer
  • Sanitise your hands complete with hand sanitiser to complete the routine

Reception / entrance

The reception is an important reflection of your company as it is often the first point of contact for customers and suppliers. Ensure they are well maintained to welcome your visitors into a clean and hygienic environment. High-touch surfaces such as reception counters and door handles harbour bacteria which can cause skin infections, food poisoning and respiratory diseases.

  • Employees and visitors can bring in contamination on their shoes, having floor mats will help reduce this and absorb dirt and water so these do not get through the facility
  • Make hand sanitisers available in reception areas to help elevate hygiene standards
  • Display certificates of hygiene and pest control audits for customers and suppliers' peace of mind

Breakout / canteen areas

Communal areas where employees gather are great spaces to build hygiene awareness and to promote a cleaner, safer workplace.

  • Highlight the consequences of poor hygiene practices and the potential cost impact to the business on posters in breakout areas
  • Scenting can help control and remediate bad smells that may derive from malodour-producing bacteria in breakout areas. Air steriliser can also help eliminate airborne micro-organisms
  • Provide hand sanitisers to support increasing hand hygiene standards

Production line

Germs can remain on surfaces such as production lines for up to 48 hours and can increase the risk of cross-contamination from surface to hands.

Take care to reduce the risk of cross contamination by having a thorough cleaning regime as well as providing hand wash stations where necessary.

  • A no food or drink policy should be introduced and implemented in production, storage and packaging areas
  • Pay particular attention to employees' personal hygiene and that of the premises and equipment
  • Waste management plans should ensure regular disposal to minimise the risk of pests

Visitor meeting rooms / office areas

A recent study by Initial found that 49% of office workers sometimes or always eat at their desks. The potential for cross-contamination is high as germs from the washroom are spread by contaminated hands and transferred to desks, office equipment and food.

  • Ensure desks and computer work stations are cleaned regularly. Shared desks are often neglected and can have a build-up of germs and contamination
  • Clean and regularly disinfect all surfaces to reduce the risk of cross-contamination via contact with food
  • Install hand sanitisers in locations of high footfall and common use
  • Improve ventilation and air conditioning, especially if offices and meeting rooms are located near to production lines releasing gas or odours

Guest rooms

Hygiene is more than surface-clean. Clean the dirt you can see but also consider what is invisible to the naked eye - germs can be easily transferred from the bathroom to the rest of the hotel suite, putting the health of guests at risk.

  • Ensure the cleaning staff are aware of the risks of cross-contamination. Gloves used when cleaning the toilet should be thrown away and replaced before contact with any other surface or object
  • High usage items such as remote controls, light switches, drinking glasses and headboards should be cleaned thoroughly to limit the spread of bacteria


The importance of a good washroom experience should never be underestimated. A good washroom experience could influence a hotel guest's overall attitude towards your brand for the better, enhancing their perception of the business, quality of service and standard of hygiene it offers guests.

  • Ensure adequate facilities are in place for the washing and drying of hands and sanitary waste disposal. No-touch solutions help minimise contact and reduce the transmission of germs
  • Provide toilet seat cleaners to limit the number of germs spread from the ‘sneeze effect’ Install air fresheners or air purifiers to maintain a pleasant smelling washroom

Kitchens and dining areas

Cross-contamination and spread of bacteria in kitchens can occur easily if proper hygiene practices are not put in place.

  • Train staff on correct handwashing procedures and glove usage policies to minimise the spread of germs from hands to food and surfaces
  • Ensure adequate handwashing facilities are provided; well-stocked soap, paper or linen towels and waste bins. No-touch solutions will help reduce the risk of germs spreading
  • Disinfect work surfaces regularly to ensure cross-contamination is reduced
  • Handwash monitoring solutions can increase handwashing compliance and ensure your staff are washing their hands according to the relevant protocols